TORONTO, June 5, 2012 /CNW/ - "I've been bullied so muchh.. Everyone bullies me because of my weight and my skin color.. I'm native and don't fit in.. There was this clique that had all of my BFF's but the clique was only for whites so I couldn't be aparrt of itt.." - actual post from kidshelpphone.ca
Over the past two years, Kids Help Phone has made concerted efforts to better serve young people from Aboriginal communities. Since this time, Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors have noted an anecdotal increase in calls from Aboriginal youth.
Because Kids Help Phone is anonymous and confidential and does not track personal information, this increase is partly attributed to counsellors' heightened awareness and improved abilities to recognize and perceive Aboriginal callers. This rise could also be due to Kids Help Phone users choosing to disclose personal details, at their own discretion.
Kids Help Phone's increased efforts to be there for Aboriginal youth was furthered in 2010, after the organization recognized the need to strengthen its understanding of the feelings and issues Aboriginal youth struggle with. Kids Help Phone wanted to enhance its service offerings for these young people, ensuring the help they get when they contact Kids Help Phone is reflective of their feelings and values.
Part of these ongoing efforts involved collaborating with the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) to develop Aboriginal bullying tip sheets for parents, teachers and youth, available online now at http://www.naho.ca/publications/topics/bullying.
This year, Todd Solomon, Kids Help Phone's Clinical Director, English Language Services, was invited to sit on the national Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Committee, part of the National Association of Friendship Centres that represents over 100 off-reserve communities, marking an important step in Kids Help Phone's promise to be there for Aboriginal youth.
This month, Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors are available to talk to the media about issues concerning Aboriginal youth in time for National Aboriginal Day on Thursday, June 21, 2012.
Why we want to talk about this
- Kids Help Phone is often the only free, anonymous professional phone and web counselling service available to youth in many of Canada's remote communities.
- 1 in 4 Aboriginal children live in poverty compared to 1 in 9 in the non-aboriginal population
- National rates of suicide among Aboriginal youth are estimated to be five to six times higher than among non-aboriginal youth1.
- 46% the Aboriginal population in Canada is under the age of 24.
- Kids Help Phone collaborated with the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) to develop Aboriginal bullying tip sheets for parents, teachers and youth, available online now at http://www.naho.ca/publications/topics/bullying.
What our experts are saying
"Last year, Kids Help Phone promised Aboriginal youth that it would be there for them no matter what," says Jessica Weiser, Director, Knowledge Mobilization & Program Development. . "In 2012, we continue to uphold that promise by putting the knowledge and training we've received into practice when assisting Aboriginal youth when and how they need help most. Our counselling approach with Aboriginal youth has been informed by the youth themselves and leaders in their communities. This has allowed us to keep our services relevant to young people who are depending on Kids Help Phone to be there when no one else is."
About Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada's leading online and phone counselling service for youth. It's free, it's anonymous and confidential, and it's available any time of the day or night, 365 days a year in English and in French. Professional counsellors support the mental health and well-being of young people, ages five to 20, by providing one-on-one counselling, information and referral. As a community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core government funding and relies on community and corporate support to fund its essential and vital service.
1 Sayt K'üülm Goot - Of One Heart - Preventing Aboriginal Youth Suicide Through Youth and Community
Engagement, Child and Youth Officer for British Columbia, March 2006.